At about 8:15 am, 40 wannabe bowhunters rendezvoused at a rundown hospital building in the Bronx to get qualified to bow hunt in the state of New York. The hospital hasn’t seen real patients for years, and now primarily exists as a methadone clinic. When I was milling about beforehand, I asked some of the straightest looking folks waiting out front, “You here for the bowhunting class or the methadone?”
The Instructor, Sgt. Al Blanco was very funny and very serious at the same time. He’s been hunting New York State for about 40 years so he knew “all the angles.”
The class was a pretty good run down on the essentials, bow specific rules, tree stand safety, bow terminology, shot placement, basic first aid, etc.
He told several gruesome stories about careless hunters getting impaled by deer tines, strangled falling out of tree stands, and having their faces ripped open by angry bears.
Humorous moments including watching adver-cational videos made by the bow company PSE and the “Tree Stand Manufacturers Association.” The PSE video was from 1999 but given the production values, it looked at least a decade older than it was. The Tree Stand Video was also a laugh riot. Apparently there is a Tree Stand cartel that strongly warns us novice hunters not to buy tree stands that aren’t made by the approved tree stand cartel.
The class was a pretty diverse group in terms of age, race, and socioeconomic status. In terms of gender, I saw one girlfriend and one daughter.
Beyond Whitetail Bucks, Sgt. Al was pretty emphatic that we go out and get doe tags and bring down the doe population. He also admonished us to go out and kill as many Coyotes as possible. “If you have twenty arrows… I want you to kill twenty coyotes!” Black Bear, Wild Boar, and Turkey, he told us to go out and hunt them all.
He also name-dropped the location of several good places for us to try our luck. Now I’m going to touch base with my NYC crew to see if we can get a hunting party together to scout them out.
Hopefully, I get a second deer this year.